The year is continuing to fly by, and it’s past the halfway mark! We are well into winter here with plenty of cold, wet weather. After the recent drought no one dares complain about rain, and we’re thankful that the reservoirs are filling up nicely.
Things have been very busy at Scripture Union. There have been some staff changes, and Tim has been traveling to different regions to help with budgets and fundraising plans. His trip to the U.S. in April was good and will hopefully bear fruit as he re-establishes relationships that have gone quiet in recent years.
We are currently in the third and final week of the winter school break here, and this is the season for holiday clubs (vacation Bible schools) in South Africa. This is one of the major out-reaches of Scripture Union, and SU staff all over the country are running holiday clubs in schools and churches.
A small team arrived Monday night from Calvary Baptist Church in NYC. They are helping with a holiday club that’s being run by several churches in a school in Lansdowne, Cape Town. It will be a fast-paced trip for this group, and we pray that they will experience all that the Lord has for them while they’re here.
Mokone Primary & Barcelona Children’s Home
So many amazing things have been happening at Mokone Primary over the past few months. We mentioned in our last update that we had helped some of the Grade 7 learners apply to high schools. Mokone ended up having 17 children accepted at the LEAP Maths and Science School, which was 3 times more learners than were accepted from any other school in Langa! Several children were also accepted at excellent schools out-side of Langa, and we praise God for these opportunities.
The Indlela Bible Club has been consistently drawing close to 30 children each week, and they are very eager to learn more about God, Jesus and the Word.
WordWorks literacy program got started in Term 2, and it is going well. The volunteers and children are both benefitting from spending time together.
During the first week of the winter school break we had the annual holiday club at Mokone. This year we had an amazing team of volunteers from our congregation at Common Ground, the Langa Common Ground congregation, Just Grace high school students, and a team from Blacksburg Christian Fellowship. Altogether there were nearly 40 volunteers, which was fantastic because we had a huge number of children coming each day. On the first day we had about 180 children and by the last day we had 350! This was by far the biggest holiday club we’ve ever had there, and things ran incredibly smoothly. A nearby company generously donated burgers each day, which was such a blessing. The children loved using Reach4Life Bibles to complete worksheets on each day’s lesson, and many responded to the gospel.
The week after the holiday club we spent time with the BCF team doing things with the children from the Barcelona Children’s Home and also renovating the classroom that we have at Mokone. It was great to be able to take the children on a couple of outings. Pastor Julius’ eye sight is improving slightly, but he is still struggling.
We are continuing to see growth in numbers and depth at church. It is so exciting to see so many young people growing in faith and hungering after God.
In late May Common Ground and Jubilee Community Church hosted the Global Advance Conference. Many churches from around the world are part of the Advance Movement, and about 450 people attended the conference, including a large delegation from India and Nepal, a number from the U.S., as well as other African countries, Europe and Australia. It was a very enriching time and we feel very fortunate to have been able to attend.
In our last update we spoke about the electricity crisis. That seems to have been re-solved for the time being. We haven’t experienced any is-sues since March.
Since our last update we have also had a national election. Things went smoothly and seem to be moving in a good direction. Unemployment re-mains very high (over 27%), which is a major concern, but the president has plans for tackling this issue. At The Zanokhanyo Network work readiness training is continuing to reach many people, but there are so many more who need this kind of training. Common Good is looking for ways to expand the reach of TZN into more communities, but it takes a lot of resources to do that.
We are looking forward to having James and Mackenzie here later this month. It will be Mackenzie’s first visit to South Africa, and James is excited about showing her where he grew up.
At church we have been going through Ephesians, a book packed with rich truths. Ephesians 3:14-17: “When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” What a beautiful prayer!
We thank each of you for partnering with us and we pray that you will experience the richness and depth of God’s love as you serve him in whatever you do.